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Exergy analyses of the biochemical processes of photosynthesis

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This paper gives the exergy analyses of the main biochemical processes of photosynthesis in green plants. In the light reactions, photosystem I, photosystem II, and ATP-synthesis are found to operate at exergy efficiencies of 50%, 68% and 81%, respectively, so that 48% of the exergy of directly utilised solar photons is converted to biochemical energy carriers. Subsequently, in the dark reactions, glucose is synthesised from CO2 at an exergy efficiency of 85%. When including the wasteful effect of photorespiration, the overall exergy efficiency of the photosynthesis of glucose is determined at 31–34%, with most of the exergy losses occurring during the initial conversion of the photon energy.

Keywords: exergy analysis, thermodynamics, second-law, exergy efficiency, biochemical processes, living cell, photosynthesis, solar photons, Calvin cycle, chloroplast, glucose, photorespiration

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